The 2018 EPA Bathing Water report sets out bathing water quality during the long hot summer of 2018. Overall, 94 per cent of the 145 identified bathing waters met the minimum EU standards last year, with over 100 beaches classified as Excellent.
Three new bathing waters – Dooey and Magheraroarty in Donegal and Seafield Quilty in Clare – were classified for the first time in 2018. All three were classified as Excellent.
Key findings of the report:
- 145 bathing waters were identified in 2018, an increase of three since 2017.
- 94 per cent of identified bathing waters (137 of 145) met at least the minimum EU standards.
- 103 of 145 bathing waters were classified as Excellent. A further 22 were classified as Good and 12 were classified as Sufficient, meeting the mandatory requirement.
- Five bathing waters were classified as Poor, down from seven in 2017. Three of these are in the Dublin area (Sandymount Strand, Merrion Strand and Portrane (the Brook) Beach). The other two are Lilliput (Lough Ennell) in Co. Westmeath and Clifden, Co. Galway.
- Sandymount Strand has been classified as Poor for the past two years with Portrane (the Brook) Beach and Clifden, receiving a Poor classification for the past three years. This is the fourth year that Merrion Strand was classified as Poor. Lilliput (Lough Ennell), which had a Good classification in 2017, deteriorated to Poor in 2018.
- Improvements were made in three bathing waters previously classified as Poor: Loughshinny and Rush (South Beach) in Fingal and Ballyloughane near Galway City.
- Three Bathing waters at Dooey and Magheraroarty in Donegal and at Seafield Quilty in Clare, were classified for the first time in 2018 and all three received an Excellent classification.
- Three bathing waters at Forty Foot Bathing Place, Sandycove Beach and White Rock Beach were newly identified in 2018 and will be classified following the 2019 bathing season.
Andy Fanning, Programme Manager of the EPA’s Office of Evidence and Assessment said: “It is great to see local authorities identifying new bathing waters with excellent water quality. At the other end of the scale, we have five bathing waters that have been classified as Poor. More intensive action needs to be taken by local authorities to address the issues and protect the health of bathers.”
Jenny Deakin, EPA Senior Scientific Officer, said: “Ireland has many beautiful beaches and some inland bathing waters with excellent water quality. The report covers the 145 EU identified bathing waters. It also provides information on 72 other waters that are not covered by the legislation that are monitored by the local authorities because bathing or recreational activities take place there.
“During the summer, current water quality information and details of any incidents affecting bathing waters will be displayed on the beaches.ie website. If you are heading to the beach with your family or friends, check www.beaches.ie or our Twitter feed @EPABeaches, before heading out. Most importantly, when you get to the beach always check the local notice board to be sure the water quality is good before you dip your toe.”